Warning: This story contains a message about dog poop.
Truth be told, lots of dog poop.
Which is why two groups in Wichita – the Wichita Initiative to Renew the Environment (WIRE) and the RiverCity Watershed Restoration Assessment Planning Strategy (WRAPS) – have joined forces to create a public service campaign, “Bag It Up Wichita,” regarding dog poop.
The campaign’s music video is expected to air within the next month. The video, titled “Dog Doogity,” is a parody on Blackstreet’s 1996 hit song, “No Diggity.”
The inspiration came from a similar parody done on the same subject in Seattle.
The local video has a definite Wichita spin, said Martha Slater Farrell, president of First Generation Video, which created the video. Viewers will be able to recognize footage of the Arkansas River, Oak Park, Exploration Place, Keeper of the Plains, Old Town and Woofstock.
It features local singer Jenny Wood and the Diamond W. Wranglers.
And, dog poop.
According to the WRAPS website, dog poop has become a serious pollution problem in almost all urban areas. If not picked up and instead left to decay on streets and in yards and parks, the remnants can be carried by rainwater into the city’s storm drains and then into creeks and the Arkansas River.
The website estimates there are 95,000 dogs and 100,000 cats in the Wichita area, which amounts to about 50,000 pounds of pet waste a day.
“It is a major contributor to bacteria in the river,” said Becky Lewis, member of the RiverCity WRAPS. “Unfortunately, fecal matter carries a lot of bacteria whether it is human, cow or dog.”
The waste can put both pets and humans at health risk, carrying diseases or parasites such as campylobacteriosis, which can cause diarrhea in humans; cryptosporidium, which can be fatal to people with depressed immune systems; toxocariasis, also known as roundworms; and toxoplasmosis, a parasite carried by cats that can cause birth defects.
That’s why the two groups are promoting the Bag It Up Wichita campaign. And that’s why there is a catchy-little tune and a public service announcement.
Producing the video over the weekend was much harder than one might think, Slater Farrell said. There were production challenges, such as finding fake poop.
“We found three different styles at a novelty shop in Delano and used them all several times,” she said.
And then there was the challenge of convincing people to join a music video about scooping dog poop.
Leticia Sanchez, dance instructor at the North YMCA, helped choreograph a class to dance the “bag it up” section of the video.
The video, nearly three minutes in length, will be placed on the website of Bag It Up Wichita and the two civic groups. It will also be placed on YouTube. A shorter version will be released to local television and radio stations.
“We really wanted this video to show off Wichita visually and musically, while communicating a really important environmental message,” Slater Farrell said.